Expert's Take: Rivers to Duke

Scout.com's Dave Telep sat down with TDD to discuss the commitment of Austin Rivers and the expected impact in Durham and the rest of college hoops.

Before he departed the network, former Scout.com National Recruiting Analyst Dave Telep sat down with TDD to discuss the Blue Devils' biggest and latest commitment and what it means for Duke. TDD: What kind of impact do you see Austin Rivers having at the collegiate level?

Dave Telep: What he does well, better than anyone in his class, is score the basketball. He owns an extremely mature scoring package, very uncharacteristic of a high school player. Step backs, floaters, drives with contact, he's got it all. I've said all along he's a Tyreke Evans type in college who transitions to a point in the pros.

In which areas does he need to improve?

Collegiately he's got two things to work on: playing without the ball in his hand and understanding at Duke that he's got help and he doesn't have to do it all. Having said that, he's a hellacious competitor, marksman with Redick-like range and an instant problem for the rest of the league.

For a while there it seemed as though Duke wasn't the place for high major, lottery talent guards. Do the back to back commitments of Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers change that?

Rivers and Irving are definitely headlining guards. There's a perception, and rightfully so that UK gets points to the league. Eventually, Duke will put two very good ones in the pros and that's a big recruiting chip to bolster an already studly recruiting reputation for the only coach who can claim a national, world and Olympic championship in the present. 

Duke is pretty full in the backcourt at this point, and obviously Rivers is going to play. But what position? What's his role at Duke?

I see the trajectory looking exactly like Tyreke Evans. He's a point in progress and playing the lead guard in the NBA is the eventual destination. At Duke, I think they'll play him with a point guard and ask him to do what he: score.  

Supposing Duke is able to land Quinn Cook. What would that backcourt's greatest strengths and weaknesses be?

First of all, you can't discount the possibility of Cook, Rivers, and Irving. If the lockout happens as expected, Kyrie may have a big decision. Add Thornton into the mix and you've got a big time rotation. 

Overall where do you see Duke's class stacking up this year in the national rankings?

If the projected class holds together - Cook, Rivers, Gbinije, Adams, and Plumlee - it'll be number two or three in the county depending on how things shake out. Regardless of rankings it's a big time class. Rankings really don't mean as much since the career span of the elite guys is shorter, but this group will keep Duke in the hunt for championships.


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